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FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE

Average time lapse between acceptance of agreement and payment is 4 to 8 months.

BUREAU OF RECLAMATION Normally, it requires about 60 days' time to make payment after title opinion has been received and any title defects cleared.

TVA

Normally settlement is made from 30 to 60 days after the purchase and sale contract is executed. In case of condemnation TVA deposits its estimate of just compensation into court at the time the suit is filed and the distribution of the funds is left to the discretion of the court.

ARMY ENGINEERS

The average time required to deliver the purchase check, after acceptance of the purchase agreement, is about 45 days. Cases under $25,000, not requiring preliminary title opinions of the Attorney General (par. 16, EM 405–1-600), would be closed in a shorter time; those over $25,000 would require slightly longer. The average time for deposit of funds after the agreement is reached (it is assumed this part of the question pertains to defective title cases) would be longer, especially since many titles are discovered to be incurable after the negotiations are completed, and curative efforts fail. Average time for deposit of funds in these cases would be about 120 days after agreement is reached. The same time estimate is made as to those cases where landowners sign agreements and then refuse to execute deeds and comply with those agreements. If the question is intended to ask about deposits after failure of negotiations, this would be about 90 days.

NAVY

Purchase agreements requiring a deposit of funds in court are the exception, and usually involve title difficulties. In such case the purchase agreement is used as a stipulation. In case of purchase agreements involving clear title, generally payment is made in 40 to 60 days. However, if title is defective another 30 days would be involved in filing a proceeding and making a deposit in court.

RLA-DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

In respect to properties sold to the Agency voluntarily, settlement usually takes place within 30 days. In condemnation cases, whether or not a deficiency is involved, former owners are in position to collect award within 30 days. 104. What are the principal causes of delay in payment, other

than title defects?

GSA

The principal cause of delay in closing voluntary conveyances has been that delay in proceeding with the actual mechanics of the trans

action due to the heavy workloads of the U.S. attorneys responsible for closing the cases where the property is to be acquired by conveyance or stipulation.

NATIONAL PARK SERVICE

Other than the comparatively rare instances in which title defects exist or when the vendor delays in performing his part of the transaction, payments are made expeditiously.

FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE

Principal causes are several in number. The first of these may be delivery of title evidence by an attorney, which is often delayed by his inability to accomplish the job as promised. Another is completion of a field survey and land description. A third and a very critical one is time consumed in securing a title opinion, usually 2 to 3 months.

BUREAU OF RECLAMATION

Other than title defects, the principal cause in delay of making payment to landowners is the inability of title companies to promptly furnish abstracts or title insurance policies.

TVA

Every effort is made to have title work completed by the time contracts are executed. There is nothing that would delay the closing except the completion of title work, which would include execution of final papers and release of liens by nonresident parties.

ARMY ENGINEERS

Excluding title defects and delays caused by the unavailability of the landowners, especially in the smaller cases, in which they frequently are not particularly interested, there are no principal causes of delay in effecting payment. Effort is made to gear the availability of closing agent manpower to the volume and tempo of the work to be done. Human error and other human factors do cause, on occasion, delays in this function, as in any other.

(This answer is based on the assumption that normal processing time-action to remove curable title defects; obtaining mutiple signatures to deeds and other documents; distribution of options, issuance of check, etc., are not considered delays. We have tried to streamline these actions, and consider that they have been reduced to a point where the benefit-risk ratio of further reduction would be submarginal.)

(Delays in distribution of court deposits, which is a U.S. attorney responsibility, is not covered in this answer.)

NAVY

We have experienced no cause of delay other than that due to title defects or a change in programing from departmental or executive level.

RLA-DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

Time involved in obtaining signatures to the deed where there are many scattered heirs to an estate, 105. What assistance do you give the owner in satisfying liens

and clearing title defects?

GSA

Assistance is given to the property owner in satisfying liens and clearing title defects as may be required in order to complete the acquisition as soon as practicable.

NATIONAL PARK SERVICE

The condition of the title is not generally known to the Government at the time of the negotiations since title evidence and the Attorney General's preliminary title opinion are not usually obtained until after the purchase agreement has been signed. Negotiators would, however, be expected to disclose any title information known to them but unknown to the landowner which would affect the acquisition. The Government will assist landowners in satisfying mortgages and other liens by furnishing the check in payment for the land under such conditions as will permit the purchase price to be used to satisfy such liens. When appropriate to do so, the National Park Service will assist landowners to clear title defects by requesting the institution of friendly condemnation proceedings.

FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE

No. However, if known, it is discussed with them. We give all possible assistance in clearing titles. This may take the form of preparing curative documents, and getting these executed, or possibly making investigations in the field to obtain information on title questions. Also, to satisfy liens, we request a check and arrange a closing with all interests represented.

BUREAU OF RECLAMATION

Negotiators inform owners of the condition of title to their property. However, it is not our normal policy to assist landowners in satisfying liens and clearing title defects.

TVA

Normally, this is not required. All questions as to title are referred to the title section, and if title information is required it is supplied by the attorney handling the particular property. The title attorney is charged with the responsibility to see that all liens are discharged and all title defects are cleared prior to closing. He not only assists but takes the initiative in working with the property owner to see that these matters are handled to a prompt and satisfactory conclusion. Title attorneys are very conscious of a responsibility to the property owner to see that his legal rights are recognized and fully protected.

ARMY ENGINEERS

If the condition of title is known, which is usually the case, the ne gotiator will discuss title defects with the owner. This is especially true when it has previously been determined that condemnation may be necessary to cure the title defects. These discussions are for the purpose of determining if the owner knows that his title is bad, and whether he proposes to clear it in order to complete the transaction with the Government; whether the negotiator can be of help or arrange for the closing agent to be of help, in title clearance; and, if the title cannot be cleared without condemnation, to explain that such action will be necessary, but that agreement as to price can be reached in advance of the condemnation, for use in stipulating the amount of compensation, without trial on that issue. Assistance to the owner in satisfying liens which require the payment of money is not given by the negotiators, although negotiators do explain that the closing agent will later assist in getting

these released, at time of closing the purchase. The closing agent always makes an intensive effort to assist the owner to clear title to tracts which have been optioned.

NAVY

Yes. All assistance possible within our means.

RLA-DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

Most owners with defective titles refuse to take the action necessary to clear a title. It would not be an allowable, so possibly proper, public cost for the Agency to perform the work for the owner. In view of the time required to clear the title in any case, it is generally necessary for the Agency to clear title by the institution of condemnation proceedings. 106. Under what circumstances and conditions do you obtain pos

session of property prior to payment or deposit of funds in court? How frequently did this occur in each of fiscal years 1960, 1961, and 1962?

GSA

GSA does not attempt to obtain possession of property prior to payment or deposit of the funds in the court.

NATIONAL PARK SERVICE

The National Park Service does not take possession of lands prior to the making of payment therefor or the payment of estimated just compensation into court.

FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE

None.

BUREAU OF RECLAMATION

Right of entry for construction purposes may be obtained in those cases where a purchase contract has been entered into with the land

owner but where the deed has not yet been obtained and payment made. It is seldom necessary for us to obtain right of entry for construction by permit. Statistics for 1961, 1962, and 1963 are not available.

TVA

Limited possession is ol;tained for reservoir clearing, highway relocations, etc., after the purchase and sale contract is executed or a permit has been obtained, but complete possession is never taken before payment is made or funds have been deposited in court.

APMY ENGINEERS

Possession is obtained prior to the payment or deposit of funds in court only when the urgency of the need for possession is such that time does not permit preparation of the maps, appraisals, and other material which are required for negotiations and drafting declarations of taking. This practice relates almost exclusively to military projects, and then only in a negligible number of cases.

Statistics by fiscal years 1960, 1961, and 1962 are not available as to the number of times we have entered on property prior to payment or court deposit. Exclusive of the ICBM program previously discussed, however, such entrance has been made in only a few instances in each of the 3 fiscal years. The highest estimate by any of the districts queried was 10 instances in each year.

NAVY

Occasionally, in the event of a pressing need in accordance with the terms of the purchase agreement, possession is taken prior to payment. No condemnation case is recalled in which the Government obtained possession prior to the deposit of funds in court.

RLA-DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

We do not take possession of any property prior to payment or deposit of funds into the registry of the court and court issues an order of possession. 107. Does your agency have a regular staff of closing or settle

ment officers? If so, describe briefly the duties and qualifications of the settlement officer. If your agency does not have a settlement or closing staff explain the procedure used to close purchase transactions.

GSA

GSA does not have a regular staff of closing or settlement officers. Voluntary conveyances are closed by the U.S. attorney with the assistance in some cases of the GSA negotiator or counsel.

NATIONAL PARK SERVICE

The National Park Service does not have a regular staff of closing or settlement officers. Settlement is often done by the park superintendent or the regional chief of lands. In many instances the ab

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